Sophie & Ally .. enthusiastic young gardeners & The Duke of Edinburgh Program

My name is Ally and I am a Year 12 student who has been volunteering at Market Garden Park Community Garden for just about a year now. I initially signed up to volunteer in the garden to complete my service hours for my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. Throughout completing my hours I learned so much and made so many meaningful connections within my local community that I decided to stay as a member even after my hours were completed. Along the way my friend Sophia has also joined the garden and been volunteering for about 4 months now.

Hello I’m Sophia and Ally introduced me to the garden a few months ago. She’d told me about all the wonderful stories at the garden which is what encouraged me to encouraged me to eventually join as a member. So far I have really loved attending the garden on Saturday morning’s and it’s something I will voluntarily get up early out of bed for (rare! definitely not a morning person) and genuinely enjoy so much. I look forward to continuing at the garden and can’t wait for all the new things I’ll learn and memories I’ll make.

Within the garden we help out with many tasks. These include making new plant beds, watering, harvesting, planting, potting, weeding, composting and more. We have loved working with the other members to learn all of these new skills. We plan on applying these skills in our home lives through planting our vegetables and teaching our families how to take care of our gardens at home.

Through our time at the garden we have learnt so much about how to care for our planet through composting, reusing and making natural, non toxic products from and for the garden. These are also things that we are going to take and use in our lives to help us make less of a carbon footprint and create less food waste. The members are also always teaching us fun facts about various things in the garden. We have learnt about the different plants we work with and ways to cook them, which is very interesting. We’ve learnt about the properties of different plants and their role in the ecosystem and our garden, whether it be in deterring pests or maintaining soil integrity, as well as ways we can seed save to grow more of the plant later on. We have also learnt a lot about bugs, some of which are actually good for the garden, as they eat the pests.

Additionally we have been allowed the opportunity to write a report to members on a few occasions, which is a wonderful opportunity to relay what we have learnt and share our experiences with our community.

Going to the garden on Saturday mornings is always a highlight of our week, as we are always eager to learn new skills and ways to give back to our planet as well as enjoy some refreshing time outdoors. The community at the garden is also one of the main reasons why volunteering there is so amazing. The members are so kind and are always willing to help us when we need it. We’d love to extend out thanks to Janet and all of the other members who have made volunteering at the

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